Kerri Walsh Jennings
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Kerri Walsh Jennings boycotts AVP Championships

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Four-time Olympic medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings says she is boycotting an event on the AVP domestic beach volleyball tour because of two rule experiments that weren’t “honestly or meaningfully” discussed with players beforehand.

Walsh Jennings said in a 950-word Facebook post on Wednesday that she and her husband, Casey Jennings, are both skipping the event in Chicago this weekend.

One rule to be tested would give a server another service attempt if the first one hits the net and falls inbounds, much like on a serve in tennis. Under the current rule, the ball is in play.

The other rule would prevent a team from winning the match unless it is serving.

The AVP responded Thursday with this statement from owner and commissioner Donald Sun:

“We have nothing but the utmost respect for Kerri as a person and a world class athlete. Beach Volleyball would not be where it is if it wasn’t for her and our amazing athletes.

That said, as a relatively young, evolving business we must continue to be nimble and evaluate ways to improve our game for fans and the brands and networks that support us and our players. At times, this means trying something out that may at first feel uncomfortable, but I assure you that every decision we make has the long term viability of our game in mind and has included extensive input from all stakeholders. These changes, none of which fundamentally alter the nature of competition, have been discussed at length, and our decision to try them now was largely based on the fact we wanted to ensure that we had the broadest representation of players engaged in that test.

As such, it’s especially unfortunate that given the value we place in her perspective that Kerri won’t be with us in Chicago to provide the feedback we’re seeking. We will continue though, to engage her and the other players on tour in dialogue on and look forward to an exciting weekend of play. There are incredible players here who should be celebrated and beach volleyball and the AVP has never been in better shape.”

MORE: Walsh Jennings, Ross win biggest annual beach event in U.S.

My husband, Casey Jennings, and I have chosen to NOT play in the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour event in Chicago his…

Posted by Kerri Walsh Jennings on Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Just to be crystal clear. I am not at war with the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. We (my husband and I) are standing up…

Posted by Kerri Walsh Jennings on Thursday, September 1, 2016

UCI looks for new host for 2020 World Road Cycling Championships

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The International Cycling Union (UCI) is looking for a new host for the 2020 World Road Cycling Championships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Switzerland can no longer host the week-long event in late September after a national decision to extend a ban on events with more than 1,000 people through next month.

Amid reports the competition has been canceled, the UCI clarified Wednesday that it still hopes to hold it in some form, perhaps without some of the junior or senior races.

It now seeks an “alternative project,” preferably still in Europe and on the same dates (Sept. 20-27).

Worlds were due to start in Switzerland on the same day that the rescheduled Tour de France ends, though the senior elite men’s races are typically not on the first three days.

The Tour de France is still scheduled to start Aug. 29.

Last year, American Chloe Dygert starred at road worlds, winning the time trial in dominant fashion. Other world champions in Olympic events: Annemiek van Vleuten (road race), Rohan Dennis (time trial) and Mads Pedersen (road race).

MORE: Chloe Dygert had the most dominant ride in history. It still drives her nuts.

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Michael Phelps qualifies for first Olympics at age 15 in 2000

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In the biggest race of his young life, a 15-year-old Michael Phelps turned for the last 50 meters in fourth place of the U.S. Olympic Trials 200m butterfly final on Aug. 12, 2000.

His mom, Debbie, couldn’t watch. She turned away from the Indianapolis Natatorium pool and stared at the scoreboard. Both Debbie and Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, mentally prepared their consolation speeches for the rising Towson High School sophomore outside Baltimore.

Then Phelps, fueled by nightly Adam’s Mark chicken sandwich-and-cheesecake room service and amped by pre-race DMX on his CD player, turned it on. He zoomed into second place, becoming the youngest U.S. male swimmer to qualify for an Olympics since 1932.

Phelps had “come out of nowhere in the last six months” to become an Olympic hopeful, NBC Sports swimming commentator Dan Hicks said on the broadcast. True, Phelps chopped five and a half seconds off his personal best that March.

“He doesn’t know what it means to go to the Olympics and how it’s going to change his life,” Tom Malchow, the 1996 Olympic silver medalist who held off Phelps in that trials final, said that night, according to The Associated Press. “He’s going to find out soon.”

Phelps, who did his trademark arm flaps before the trials final, made Bowman look like a prophet. Four years earlier, the coach sat Debbie down for a conversation she would not soon forget.

“Told me what he projected for Michael,” Debbie said, according to the Baltimore Sun‘s front-page story on a local 15-year-old qualifying for the Sydney Games. “He said that in 2004, he would definitely be a factor in the Olympics. He also said that he could be there in 2000, to watch out for him. At the time, he was only 11.”

The trials were bittersweet for the Phelps family. Whitney, one of Phelps’ older sisters, withdrew before the meet with herniated discs in her back that kept her from making an Olympics after competing in the 1994 World Championships at age 14.

After Phelps qualified for the Olympics, one of the first people to embrace him was Whitney on the pool deck.

The next week, Phelps, still with bottom-teeth braces, did his first live TV sitdown on CNN, swiveling in his chair the whole time, according to his autobiography, “Beneath the Surface.”

The next month, Phelps finished fifth in his Olympic debut, clocking a then-personal-best time that would have earned gold or silver at every previous Olympics.

Following the Olympic race, gold medalist Malchow patted Phelps on the back, according to “No Limits,” another Phelps autobiography. What did Malchow say?

“The best is ahead of you.”

MORE: Meet Arnie the Terminator, Katie Ledecky’s top rival

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